Monday, January 26, 2015

The Clarification of Faith as “Death-Event” Through the Reclarification of Matrimony To the New Evangelization

Bonnie Mahala sent me the following quote from Cardinal Ratzinger (Provenance unknown):

"Conversion is a death event. The 'I' is not simply submerged, it must release its grip on itself in order to receive anew in a greater 'I'. There is only One bearer of the promise of conversion. It is Christ. He exists within us. Outside is the chaotic world of self-realization where men compete with one another and desire to compete with God but succeed merely in working right past their true hope. Their True Hope lies within, always within."

Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI

I respond to Bonnie Mahala:

Where did you get the Ratzinger quote on conversion? I ask because I have it from a talk he gave in '86 in Toronto, but only the first part. Yours may be earlier and original. But from where? It is important because it is the meaning of faith. Faith is not primarily propositional but performative. It is the outstretching of the self. And in the context of matrimony, it is constitutive for the validity of the sacrament. And the brouhaha is about annulment and therefore validity. And if true faith as a "death-event" is not present in the exchange of vows at the altar, then you do not have a sacrament, and therefore only need a cheap (free) and quick declaration of nullity.

The Crisis of Annulment, Remarriage and Sacraments Opens Up A New Story 

 This is not the end of the story, but its beginning - as al la Opus Dei and the universal call to holiness in ordinary life - which did not become magisterial until after the approval (Decretum Laudis) of Opus Dei (10/11/1943). This means that the whole preparation for marriage is preparation for entering a way of sanctification which is = becoming "Ipse Christus." Marriage now becomes a commitment to death not as a legal barrier but as a positive vocation - and most ordinary - way of holiness and freedom.

            This commitment to sanctity in matrimony has always been soft-spoken within the irrevocability of the marriage vows, but never with the force of a calling to be a saint. And, as we know, that vocation to sanctity was identified with the call to the state of perfection and – until the Opus Dei and Vatican II – it was understood to be the unique call to the religious life as separation from the world and the taking of vows. It took the struggle of St. Josemaria Escriva and Blessed Alvaro del Portillo to break the hegemony of the religious state and leaving the world (celibacy as no marriage) and open the way of – in our case here -  sanctity precisely in matrimony.

   Hence, the development in Vatican II, and particularly in the document on Divine Revelation (Dei Filium), reads (#5): “By faith man freely commits his entire self to God, making ‘the full submission of his intellect and will to God who reveals….” Ratzinger did original work on this in his habilitation thesis where he comments that “the receiving subject is always also a part of the concept of ‘revelation.’ Where there is no one to perceive ‘revelation,’ no re-vel-ation has occurred because no veil has been removed. By definition, revelation requires a someone who apprehends it.”[1] He says further: “Revelation precedes Scripture and becomes deposited in Scripture but is not simply identical with it. This in turn means that revelation is always something greater than what is merely written down.” It means, what he says earlier, that revelation is “wholly Christological and that sees the dualism of word and reality reconciled in him who, as the true Logos, is at the same time the true ground of all that is real, and that consequently sees the antithesis between intellectual dogmatic faith and the yielding-up of one’s whole existence in trust as overcome through the total acceptance coming from the person, which recognizes Jesus Christ as, indissolubly, both the truth and the way. Thus the total character of faith inevitably emerges strongly here; it is expressed in the scriptural idea of obedience in faith, ‘by which man entrusts his whole self freely to God’”[2]

            This becomes diaphanous when Ratzinger describes how Simon comes to know that this physically existent man, Jesus, who is alone in prayer to the Father (Lk. 9, 18), is the Christ, the Son of the living God” (Mt. 16, 16). Simon had entered into this prayer, and began to pray with Jesus, and thus experienced in himself what Christ experienced in Himself. That is, he experienced going out of himself – the “death-event” that is Christ as pure relation to the Father. And so, Simon is able to respond to the question, “Who do you say that I am?” with: “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”[3] And in doing so, he becomes “Peter” (rock) as Christ is “Cornerstone.” Simon had to go through a death event, an obedience to the Word, whereby he converts away from himself to the Father and so is able to re-cognize Christ in himself because he had become Christ. He did this by way of praying with Christ. And in this context, Ratzinger shows that the very meaning of the Person of the Word is to be prayer.[4] He had not just followed Christ, or imitated Christ, or become like Christ. He had existentially become Christ by the action of prayer, that as action (faith) is obedience to death. The revelation of the Word of Christ that is Christ takes place only in the conversion from self whereby one becomes the Word. One “knows” Christ, only by becoming Christ.

            Conclusion: The clarification of faith as a “death-event”  changes the panorama not only with regard to the validity/invalidity of past marriages, but also with regard to the meaning of marriage for the future. It will change the entire meaning of evangelization from doctrine as ideology to the challenge of the Kerygma of personal sanctity. It will render the politics of same-sex union meaningless since it is incapable of mutual self-giving for enfleshed persons. To reach clarity of heart and mind on this issue of the meaning of faith and validity of matrimony is to become aware of the Kairos of the third century and to begin the new evangelization in earnest.

[1] J. Ratzinger “Milestones, Memoirs 1927-1977” Ignatius (1997) 108-109.
[2] J. Ratzinger, Commentary on the Documents of Vatican II “Revelation Itself,” Chapter I,  Vorgrimler,  Vol. III  (1969) Herder and Herder, Article 5, 177-179,
[3] Mt. 16, 16; Lk. 2, 21: “The Christ of God.”
[4] Cf. Thesis 1 of Ratzinger’s “Behold the Pierced One” Ignatius (1986) 15-22.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

CDF Muller: “Today’s mentality is largely opposed to the Christian understanding of marriage, with regard to its indissolubility and its openness to children. Because many Christians are influenced by this, marriages nowadays are probably invalid more often than they were previously.”

I posted this a year ago. It comes up again today. Look at it again, not just to draw horrorific conclusions as to your parents, etc. and your own status but, if true, what does this mean for the future of marriage and the ascetical and then catechetical preparation for it.
“Pope says marriage annulment process should be free of charge

Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY (CNS) January 24, 2015 — Addressing the Vatican tribunal primarily responsible for hearing requests for marriage annulments, Pope Francis said all annulment processes should be free of charge.
“The sacraments are free. The sacraments give us grace. And a matrimonial process pertains to the sacrament of matrimony. How I wish that all processes were free,” the pope said Jan. 24, at a meeting to inaugurate the Roman Rota’s judicial year.
Pope Francis also said that, because contemporary culture portrays marriage as a “mere form of emotional gratification,” people often marry without a true understanding of the sacrament, meaning many such marriages might actually be invalid.
“The judge, in pondering the validity of the consent expressed, must take into account the context of values and of faith — or their presence or absence — in which the intent to marry was formed. In fact, ignorance of the contents of the faith could lead to what the code (of canon law) calls an error conditioning the will. This eventuality is not to be considered rare as in the past, precisely because worldly thinking often prevails over the magisterium of the church,” the pope said.
The pope said judges in matrimonial cases should “determine if there was an original lack of consent, either directly because of a lack of a valid intention, or because of a grave lack of understanding of matrimony itself, such as to condition the will. The crisis of marriage is, in fact, not seldom at the root a crisis of conscience illuminated by faith.”
In August, Pope Francis established a commission to simplify and streamline the marriage-annulment process. At the October Synod of Bishops on the family, participants discussed the possibility of waiving fees. Archbishop Rino Fisichella, president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting the New Evangelization, told reporters that the purpose of such a measure would be to eliminate even the “smallest suspicion” of a profit motive in church activities relating to a sacrament.
The impact of the cultural context on the validity of marriages is not a new concern.
Cardinal Gerhard Muller, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, wrote in the Vatican newspaper in October 2013: “Today’s mentality is largely opposed to the Christian understanding of marriage, with regard to its indissolubility and its openness to children. Because many Christians are influenced by this, marriages nowadays are probably invalid more often than they were previously.”
In July 2013, Pope Francis suggested that as many as half of all Catholic marriages might be invalid, “because people get married lacking maturity, they get married without realizing that it is a lifelong commitment, they get married because society tells them they have to get married.”
In 2010, Pope Benedict XVI told an interviewer that “canon law has taken it for granted that someone who contracts a marriage knows what marriage is. Assuming the existence of this knowledge, the marriage is then valid and indissoluble. But in the present confusion of opinions, in today’s completely new situation, what people ‘know’ is rather that divorce is supposedly normal. So we have to deal with the question of how to recognize validity and where healing is possible.”
Now, continue to the 1998 opinion of Cardinal Ratzinger that considers faith as essential to all the sacraments, and without it, matrimony would not be a sacrament, and therefore, not valid (and hence, annullable):
“Further study is required, however, concerning the question of whether non-believing Christians — baptized persons who never or who no longer believe in God — can truly enter into a sacramental marriage. In other words, it needs to be clarified whether every marriage between two baptized persons is ipso facto a sacramental marriage. In fact, the Code states that only a “valid” marriage between baptized persons is at the same time a sacrament (cf. cic, can. 1055, § 2). Faith belongs to the essence of the sacrament; what remains to be clarified is the juridical question of what evidence of the “absence of faith” would have as a consequence that the sacrament does not come into being. (3) 
3 During the meeting with clergy in the Diocese of Aosta, which took place 25 July 2005, Pope Benedict XVI spoke of this difficult question: “those who were married in the Church for the sake of tradition but were not truly believers, and who later find themselves in a new and invalid marriage and subsequently convert, discover faith and feel excluded from the Sacrament, are in a particularly painful situation. This really is a cause of great suffering and when I was Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, I invited various Bishops’ Conferences and experts to study this problem: a sacrament celebrated without faith. Whether, in fact, a moment of invalidity could be discovered here because the Sacrament was found to be lacking a fundamental dimension, I do not dare to say. I personally thought so, but from the discussions we had I realized that it is a highly complex problem and ought to be studied further. But given these people’s painful plight, it must be studied further”. 
[Introductory comment: “In 1998 Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, introduced the volume: “On the Pastoral Care of the Divorced and Remarried”, published by the Libreria Editrice Vaticana in the dicastery’s series “Documenti e Studi”, 17. Because of its interest in our day and its breadth of perspective, we reproduce the third part along with three additional notes. This text is also available on the newspaper’s website ( in English, Italian, French, German, Portuguese and Spanish.”]
* * * * * * *
Canon 1055 of the 1983 Code of Canon Law:

 1) “The marriage covenant by which a man and a woman establish between themselves a partnership of their whole life, and which of its own very nature is ordered to the well-being of the spouses [the bonum coniugum]  and to the procreation and upbringing of children, has between the baptized, been raised by Christ the Lord to the dignity of a sacrament.”

2) Consequently, a valid marriage contract cannot exist between baptized persons without its being by that very fact a sacrament.

And according to the above, there cannot be a sacrament without faith (understood as self-gift), and hence there could not be validity.

Friday, January 23, 2015

New York Times Wants to Force Nursing Homes to Starve Alzheimer’s Patients to Death

by Wesley J. Smith | New York, NY | | 1/21/15 1:24 PM

Immoral bioethical policies and practices advance toward implementation through discourse–first in professional journals, and then in elite popular media columns.
That process is now gearing up regarding what I call “VSED-by-Proxy.”
VSED stands for “voluntary stopping eating and drinking”–suicide by self-starvationpushed for the elderly and others by those compaaaaa–ssssss–ionate death zealots at the Hemlock SocietyCompassion and Choices.
But what about mentally incompetent residents of nursing homes who willingly eat, but who years previously stated in an advance medical directive that they wanted to be made dead by starvation under such circumstances?
elderlypatient23We see increasing advocacy in bioethics that nursing homes be required to starve such patients to death–even if they are then happy, even if they willingly eat, and even, one supposes, if they ask for food. In other words, the idea is that the demented patient is incompetent to decide to eatif he had earlier directed that he be starved to death!
And now VSED-by-Proxy has been validated by respectful reportage in the New York Times. From, “Complexities of Choosing an End Game for Dementia,” by Paula Span:
Jerome Medalie keeps his advance directive hanging in a plastic sleeve in his front hall closet, as his retirement community recommends. That’s where the paramedics will look if someone calls 911. Like many such documents, it declares that if he is terminally ill, he declines cardiopulmonary resuscitation, a ventilator and a feeding tube.
But Mr. Medalie’s directive also specifies something more unusual: If he develops Alzheimer’s disease or another form of dementia, he refuses “ordinary means of nutrition and hydration.”
A retired lawyer with a proclivity for precision, he has listed 10 triggering conditions, including “I cannot recognize my loved ones” and “I cannot articulate coherent thoughts and sentences.” If any three such disabilities persist for several weeks, he wants his health care proxy — his wife, Beth Lowd — to ensure that nobody tries to keep him alive by spoon­feeding or offering him liquids
This is an extremely dangerous culture of death aggression because it would erase the boundary between medical treatment that can be refused–and basic humane care, no different ethically from turning a patient to prevent bed sores or providing hygiene–which all patients are required to receive regardless of their condition.
Just as an advance directive instructing that a patient not be kept clean should be disregarded, so too should an order to starve the patient who willingly eats.
This too is important: VSED is suicide. Legally requiring nursing homes to commit VSED-by-proxy would be forcing them to kill—and to kill cruelly. A legal regimen that forced medical personnel to assist a patient’s suicide by starvation would drive many doctors and nurses out of medicine.
After all, most doctors and nurses want to be healers, not killers.  And how safe would we be in other areas of medicine if the professions were filled with people who would willingly starve patients to death when they happily eat.
But let’s not kid ourselves. VSED-by-proxy is a stalking horse for opening the door to lethally injecting Alzheimer’s patients, and probably doing so en masse. After all, why force anyone to undergo a slow and potentially agonizing death by VSED or VSED-by-proxy when he or she can be dispatched quickly?
Euthanasia pursuant to advance directive is already practiced in the Netherlands and Belgium. It is possible that this has been the stealth goal from the time advocacy for removing feeding tubes from incompetent patients began decades ago—and that now, with the open advocacy of VSED and VSED-by-proxy, the real agenda is finally coming out into the open. Note: Wesley J. Smith, J.D., is a special consultant to the Center for Bioethics and Culture and a bioethics attorney who blogs at Human Exeptionalism.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Josemaria Escriva as “Ipse Christus,” and Therefore, All of Us.

St. Josemaria Escriva experienced himself to be not only another Christ, but Ipse Christus, Christ Himself. The experience did not consist in having Christ within him, or of imitating Christ, or of following Christ, or being like Christ. He experienced being Christ, and heard the words, “you are my Son; you are Christ.” It seems that we are talking about an ontological identity of really becoming Christ. But this sets of an alarm that we are talking about man becoming God, and if that is the case, how do we not fall into pantheism?

There were two audible experiences (locutions) that he had in 1931: One was during Mass on August 7 when he heard the words: "And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all things to myself" and "You are my son (Psalm 2, 7), you are Christ." 

            With regard to the first, Escriva commented years later that he understood Christ saying those words "not in the sense in which in which Scripture says them. I say [them] to you in the sense that you are to raise me  up in all human activities, in the sense that all over the world there should be Christians with a personal and most free dedication, that they be other Christs."

            With regard to the second, he recounted later: “the Lord was giving me those blows around the year 31, and I did not understand. And suddenly (de pronto), in the midst of that great bitterness, these words: 'You are my Son (Psalm 2, 7), you are Christ.' And I could only stammer: 'Abba, Pater! Abba, Pater! Abba! Abba! Abba!'  Now I see it with new light, like a new discovery, just as one sees, after years have passed, that hand of God, of divine Wisdom, of the All-Powerful One. You've led me, Lord, to understand that to find the Cross is to find happiness, joy. And I see the reason with greater clarity than ever: to find the Cross is to identify oneself with Christ, to be Christ, and therefore to be a son of God.”

                        These two locutions (charisms) with reference to Christians as "other Christs" and himself as "my Son, you are Christ," gave him the clarity of mind to persistently repeat throughout his life that the vocation of every man as image of God, and not just the Christian via the sacrament of Baptism, is to be "no ya alter Christus, sino ipse Christus, !el mismo Cristo!" (not just another Christ, but Christ Himself) [1]

Two authors, Burkhart and Lopez[2], add here that the novelty is not so much that Escriva affirms that being created in the image of God, or being baptized into Christ will bring about an identification with Christ Himself (which is already deep in Christian Tradition), but that this identification with Christ has an ontological character to it, and it is accessible to all in ordinary secular life. It is not new to say that one can have a vocation to be Christ Himself, but it is new to say that all are called to actually become Christ Himself by living out ordinary life.[3]

            And so let's note that Escriva did not experience or hear within him that he had become like Christ, that he was imitating Christ, that he was following Christ, that he had identified himself with Christ, that he was sharing with Christ, that he belonged to Christ, that he was tending toward the fullness of the humanity of Christ, or even that he was another Christ. Rather, these two authors commented that: “he saw and felt that to be a son of God was “to be Christ' and therefore God the Father treated him as he treated Christ when giving him these physical and moral pains: the cross. It was the evident proof of his filiation, because as the  Father had wanted the passion and death of His incarnate Son for the redemption of men, so those contradictions of his were the way to fulfill the mission which He has given him to  share in the redemptive work of Christ.  God the Father had not only treated him 'as Christ' but when inviting him to embrace the cross, he said to him: 'you are Christ' 'you are my son.'”(?)

            The texts of our Father are unambiguous: “To have the Cross is to be identified with Christ, it is to be Christ, and therefore, to be a son of God.” In the same meditation, our Father said: “There is only one way to live on earth: to die with Christ in order to rise with Him, until we may be able to say with the Apostle: 'It is not I who live, but Christ who lives in me' (Gal 2, 20)” Burkhart and Lopez comment: “St. Josemaria understands that Gal. 2, 20 speaks of a presence of the life of Christ in the Christian not only in an intentional sense (as the known is in the one who knows, and the beloved in the one who loves) but ontologically (my underline). Removing any lingering ambiguity, our Father writes” “Each Christian is not simply alter Christus; another Christ, but ipse Christus: Christ himself!”

            Burkart and Lopez attempt to give a theological account of this ontological identification of the human person with Christ by assuming the theology that had been crafted in the Council of Chalcedon (451) of the one Person, two natures and applying the notion of participation of the human nature in the divine nature.

            It should be noted that the affirmations of St. Josemaria point to a radical ontological identity that the Christian “is” and the presence of the Cross is the patent, existential and experiential confirmation that, indeed, one has become “another Christ, Christ Himself.” The two authors affirm that the identity with Christ is ontological, and that it cannot be reduced to abstract thought or doctrine.[4] They go on to say that we are not dealing here in St. Josemaria with a “confusion between Christ and the Christian,” but rather with an “identification.” And the “identification” does not mean the “disappearance of one’s own identity” but a “compenetration.” And the only adequate analogy for this is the union between the Trinitarian Father and the Son when Jesus says “As the living Father has sent me, and as I live because of the Father, so he who eats me, he also shall live because of me” (Jn. 6, 58), and “I in them and You in me” (Jn. 17, 23). But we must remember what was heard, and what, therefore, was said by St. Josemaria: “you are my Son; you are Christ,” and Escriva could not stop saying Abba, Abba which is the unique language of the Ipse Christus.
   The question, then, is Christ in Escriva? Or is Escriva Christ?, and what could we possibly mean by that?

            Burkhart and Lopez, once they reach the point of giving a theological, conceptual explanation, slide into a more reasonable Christ is in Escriva. And they do it in the more conventional metaphysical / terms of participation.

They apply the Christology of Chalcedon in its Scholastic metaphysical terms of one Person, two natures. Obviously, they want to avoid falling into an offensive confusion of the uncreated Divinity of Christ with a created human person. They do not want to fall into pantheism. And so they apply Neo-Scholastic Christology and anthropology: the Humanity of Christ – the human nature – is the efficient “instrumental”cause of grace. That is, the Humanity of Christ, in so far as it is assumed by the divine Person of the Logos, possesses the fullness of grace (assuming grace to be the communicator of divine Life). They then assign that the Humanity of Christ is the instrumental (not principal) cause. They then say that Christ is present in the human person in so far as the action of His humanity is made present in him. That is, Christ is not in Escriva. Rather, the grace of Christ’s humanity is in Escriva which acts in him.[5]

My complaint with this is the following: if the human person has the profound ontological likeness to the divine Person because created in His image and likeness, and after Christ, baptized into His power to make the gift of Himself to death, why not apply the anthropology of Gaudium et spes 24 that is the dynamic concretion of Gaudium et spes 22.  Why take an anthropology from below (rational animal) as from Aristotle and Boethius and try to force a relational Christology into it? That is, follow the Magisterium that says that Jesus Christ is the revelation not only who God is, but who man is. That is, Christ is not an exception to man (as taken from below as rational animal) but his Prototype. Therefore the anthropology has to follow the Christology. And the Christology of Chalcedon (451) was complete and dynamized by the Christology of Constantinople III (680-681) that says that the human will of Christ becomes the human will of the divine Person of the Son, and that the human and the divine compenetrate in that both wills (divine and human) are longings of the same Person for the Father. That is, the human will is not damaged but perfected by being the will of a divine Person.

This would mean that the freedom of the human will of Christ consists in obeying the Father[6] to death on the Cross. This is made in the magisterium of Gaudium et spes #24 that says, “man, the only earthly being God has willed for itself, finds itself by the sincere gift of self.” Therefore, if man is capable of making the gift of himself in obedience to the Will of the Father, he is capable of being Christ Himself.

The theology of Jesus Christ reveals that the Person of Christ is nothing in Himself. Since the Trinity is One God, then the Persons must be subsistent Relations. Each Person is not a “substance” or “individual” in self, but a “for” the other. It is the Communio of the one Christian God.
 Hence, the ontological content of the Son is to be nothing in Self. Hear Ratzinger: “The Son as Son, and in so far as he is Son, does not proceed in any way from himself and so is completely one with the Father; since he is nothing beside him, claims no special position of his own, confronts the Father with nothing belonging only to him, retains no room for his own individuality, therefore he is completely equal to the Father. The logic is compelling: if there is nothing in which he is just he, no kind of fenced-off private ground, then he coincides with the Father, is ‘one’ with him. It is precisely this totality of interplay that the word ‘Son’ aims at expressing. To John ‘Son’ means being-from-another; thus with this word he defines the being of this man as being from another and for others, as a being that is completely open on both sides, knows no reserved area of the mere ‘I.’ When it thus becomes clear that the being of Jesus as Christ is a completely open being, a being ‘from’ and ‘towards,’ that nowhere clings to itself and nowhere stands on its own, then it is also clear at the same time that this being is pure relation (not substantiality) and, as pure relation, pure unity. This fundamental statement about Christ becomes, as we have seen, at the same time the explanation of Christian existence. To John, being a Christian means being like the Son, becoming a son; that is, not standing on one’s own and in oneself, but living completely open in the ‘from’ and ‘towards.’ In so far as the Christian is a ‘Christian,’ this is true of him. And certainly such utterances will make him aware to how small an extent he is a Christian”[7]
And further, the person of the Son and His act cannot be distinguished. Ratzinger again: “For what faith really states is precisely that with Jesus it is not possible to distinguish office and person; with him, this differentiation simply becomes inapplicable. The person is the office, the office is the person. The two are no longer divisible. Here there is no private area reserved for an ‘I’ which remains in the background behind the deeds and actions and thus at some time or other can be4 ‘off duty;’ there is no ‘I’ separate from the work; the ‘I’ is the work and the work is the ‘I.’”[8]

And now to connect what Bl. Alvaro del Portillo, having lived 40 years with St. Josemaria and having observed him in his “first act” as founder of Opus Dei, wrote in the Osservatore Romano in May of 1992: “The identification of his very self with his foundational activity implied that Mons. Escriva perfected himself as a subject – up to the point of living the virtues to a heroic degree – in the measure in which he carried out Opus Dei, feeling the need to second God’s plans daily.” He commented that it was impossible to distinguish his persona from his vocation to found the Work.

Hence, if the Person of Christ is His action, and His Person is His teaching, then if the human person, image and baptized, is capable of this totality of self gift over a life-time, then, with this Christological anthropology, we are able to give a metaphysical account of the human person approximating his Prototype.

[1]Josemaria Escriva “Christ is Passing By,” #104
[2] Ernst Burkhart - Javier Lopez, “Vida Cotidiana y Santidad En La Ensenagnza de San Josemaria,” Rialp, (2011) Vol. II, 85.
[3] Ernst Burkhart - Javier Lopez, “Vida Cotidiana y Santidad En La Ensenagnza de San Josemaria,” Rialp, (2011) Vol. II, 85.
[4] “La filiacion divine percibida por san Josemaria en 1931 no se agota en la doctrina – profunda, pero quiza algo abstracta – de ser ‘hijjos en el Hijo,’ sino que es una filiacion divine ‘en Cristo,’ una filiacion divina ‘encarnada’ y redentora.’
[5] “Que la cause instrumental sea causa por participacion comporta que es causa no por su ser (como la causa principal, la Divinidad) sino por su accion o ‘virtud,’ que la Humanidad de Cristo tiene de modo indefectible. Esto implica que la presencia de Cristo encuanto hombre en el Cristiano que recibe al gracia, no es como la pesencia de la causa principal, la Divinidad, que inabita en el alma in gracia, sino que es una presencia de su accion o ‘virtud.’ En este sentido se la puede llamar ‘presencia virtual,’ entendiendo este ultimo termino como presence de la accion de Cristo o de su virtus: su ‘poder’ o ‘fuerza.’ La presencia virtual de Cristo en cuanto Hombre in el Cristiano es una presencia verdadera y real, pero no sustancial; es presencia del poder o del influjo de la Humanidad de Cristo, no de su sustancia. Se trata de una presencia dinamica. Gracias a ella puede decirse que las acciones de un hijo de Dios, surgidas de su naturaleza elevada por la gracia de Cristo, son tambien acciones d Cristo a traves del Cristiano como miembro suyo: vida d Cristo en el Cristiano. Y es, ademas, una presencia permanente, que existe mientras permanence la gracia. Burkart y Lopez …. P. 99.
[6] See Veritatis Splendor#85.
[7] J. Ratzinger, “Introduction to Christianity,” Ignatius (1990) 134.
[8] Ibid. 149.

Monday, January 19, 2015

ABOARD THE PAPAL PLANE FROM MANILA: Big Topic: Ideological Colonialism ["Gender Theory"] and Children No Contraception, But Responsible Self-Gift.

Read the Pope Carefully!

Colonialism: in the light of what I put today about the ideological absolutism of 1750's Spain and Portugal vis a vis the Missions (Reductions) in Paraguay;
   Contraception: No. Rather, the free se;f-gift of "responsible partenthood."

Pope Francis has obliquely but sharply criticized how financially stable nations lend aid to developing countries, saying they sometimes require concessions that strike echoes of 20th century dictatorships.
The pontiff has also made what appears to be an unprecedented statement that Catholics may have a moral responsibility to limit the number of their children, while reaffirming Pope Paul VI’s ban on artificial means of birth control.
Francis’ statement about development aid was a clarification of an earlier warning against what he called an "ideological colonization" of family life, made during a meeting with families in the Philippines last week. Speaking to media Monday, Francis recounted a story of a public education minister he knew who was offered money to construct new schools for the poor.
To receive the money, said Francis, the minister had to agree to use a course book with students that taught what the pontiff called "gender theory."
"This is the ideological colonization," said the pope. "It colonizes the people with an idea that changes, or wants to change, a mentality or a structure."
"It is not new, this," he continued. "The same was done by the dictators of the last century. They came with their own doctrine -- think of the Balilla [youth groups of Fascist Italy], think of the Hitler Youth."
"They colonized the people," he continued. "How much suffering -- peoples must not lose liberty."
"Every people has its own culture," said Francis. "But when imposed conditions come from the imperial colonizers, they seek to make [peoples] lose their own identity and make an homogeny."
Francis was speaking Monday in a nearly hour-long press conference aboard the papal plane traveling back to Rome from the Philippines. He was answering a question about remarks he made last Friday, in which he warned against such colonization in an apparent reference to efforts to legalize same-sex marriage and to use of contraception.
During the press conference the pope also confirmed details of his upcoming trip to the U.S. in September. For the second time in a week, Francis too reaffirmed Catholic teaching prohibiting the use of birth control.
Reaffirms prohibition on birth control
Francis said Pope Paul VI, whose 1968 encyclical Humanae Vitae outlined the contraceptive ban, was warning against a "Neo-Malthusianism, " a reference to a theories that suggested in the 1960s and ’70s that exponential global population growth would lead to an irreversible world food crisis.
Citing the low rates of birth specifically in Italy and Spain, Francis said such Neo-Malthusianism "seeks to control humanity."
At the same time, however, Francis made a statement that seems without precedent for a pope, suggesting that parents may have a responsibility to limit the number of their children, saying: "This does not signify that the Christian must make children in series."
Telling the story of a woman he met in a parish in Rome several months ago who had given birth to seven children via Cesarean section and was pregnant with an eighth, Francis asked: "Does she want to leave the seven orphans?"
"This is to tempt God," he said, adding later: "That is an irresponsibility." Catholics, the pope said, should speak of "responsible parenthood."
"How do we do this?" Francis asked. "With dialogue. Each person with his pastor seeks how to do that responsible parenthood."
"God gives you methods to be responsible," he continued. "Some think that -- excuse the word -- that in order to be good Catholics we have to be like rabbits. No."
"This is clear and that is why in the church there are marriage groups, there are experts in this matter, there are pastors," Francis said. Using the term for a practice that follows church law, he continued: "I know so many, many licit ways that have helped this."
Francis was speaking about birth control in response to a question from a Filipino journalist. Use of contraception in the Philippines is a contentious issue, as the Philippine government only recently approved contraceptive access against forceful opposition from Catholic bishops.
The pope's responses regarding birth control and ideological colonization were part of a wide-ranging conference that touched on a number of other subjects, including: Corruption in church structures, the place of women in church leadership, and global mistreatment of the poor that the pontiff said could be likened to a new form of "state-sponsored terrorism."
‘Ideological colonization’
Continuing to clarify his concept of "ideological colonization," Francis said he heard concerns about the matter from African bishops during last fall's Synod, who told him they often face difficult choices when presented with conditions of acceptance on much needed financial aid.
"I say to many that I have seen this," said the pope.
Francis compared such colonization to criticisms he has frequently made about the process of globalization -- saying that the homogenizing of peoples is "the globalization of the sphere -- [where] all the points are equidistant from the center."
"It is important to globalize but not like the sphere -- like the polyhedron," he continued. "Namely, that every people, every part, conserves its own identity without being ideologically colonized."
Francis on Monday also revealed more concrete plans for his trip to the U.S. in September, confirming reports that he is planning to visit Philadelphia, New York, and Washington but saying it is unlikely he will able to travel to the West Coast or to the U.S./Mexico border.
Mentioning his earlier announcement that he will canonize Franciscan Fr. Junipero Serra on the trip, an 18th century missionary in the Western U.S. and Mexico, Francis said: "I would like to go to California for the canonization ... but I think there is the problem of time. It requires two more days [to the trip]."
It is more likely, the pope said, that he will formalize the canonization during a liturgy at Washington's Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception. Francis said he might also host some sort of event to mark the occasion at the U.S. Capitol building, which contains a statue of the future saint.
Francis has been invited to address a joint session of Congress during his visit, which he is primarily making to attend the Sept. 22-27 World Meeting of Families in Philadelphia. The pontiff is also likely to address the United Nations in New York.
Francis also said on Monday he would have preferred to make a visit to the southern border of the U.S., but joked that he could not do so without visiting the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Mexico City.
No visit to border on U.S. trip
"To enter the United States from the border of Mexico would be a beautiful thing, as a sign of brotherhood and of help to the immigrants," he said. "But you know that going to Mexico without going to visit the Madonna is a drama. A war could break out!"
"I think there will only be those three cities," he continued. "Later, there will be time to go to Mexico."
Speaking briefly of the role of women in the church, Francis said Monday that women bring new perspectives to church communities.
"When I say it is important that women be held in higher consideration in the church, it’s not just to give them a function as the secretary of a dicastery," he said, referring to the general name for second-in-command positions of the different Vatican offices before adding: "But this can be OK."
"No, it’s so that they may tell us how they feel and view reality," he continued. "Because women view things from a different richness, a larger one."
Addressing a question about corruption in the church, Francis recalled a time as a auxiliary bishop in Argentina when he was offered about $400,000 for use towards ministry for the poor -- under the condition that he accept the money under the table and allow the benefactors to keep half the sum.
With rather colorful language, the pontiff said: "In that moment I thought about what I would do: Either I insult them and give them a kick where the sun doesn’t shine or I play the fool."
Emphasizing that he thinks of the church as a community of sinners, the pope continued: "Let’s remember this: Sinners, yes; the corrupt, no; the corrupt, never."
"We must ask pardon for those Catholics, those Christians who scandalize with their corruption," said Francis. "It’s a wound in the church, but there are so many saints, so many saints -- and sinner saints, but not corrupt [ones]."
On the Dalai Lama
Later in the press conference, Francis also rebutted news reports that he had refused to meet with the Dalai Lama while the Buddhist leader was in Rome late last year because the pope did not wish to harm relations between the Vatican and China.
While formal ties between the Holy See and the Asian country have been severed since 1951, Francis has said several times he would like to repair the relationship and would be willing to travel to China.
"I saw that some newspapers said I didn’t receive him out of fear of China," said the pope. "That’s not true."
The refusal to meet, said Francis, was due to a protocol of the Vatican's Secretariat of State that the pope does not meet "people at that level" when they are in Rome for conferences.
"The motive was not a refusal of a person, or fear of China," he said, mentioning that he also had not met with officials of the UN's Food and Agricultural Organization when they met in Rome last year.
More foreign trips planned
Francis also tentatively confirmed Monday that he is planning to visit three Latin American countries later this year -- Ecuador, Bolivia and Paraguay -- and two African countries: The Central African Republic and Uganda.
Saying he was speaking "hypothetically," the pope said he and organizers have to determine when would be best to go to Africa because of hot weather in the region during the summer and the continuing Ebola epidemic.
Francis also added that in 2016 he would like to travel to Chile, Argentina and Uruguay but said as yet no firm plans have been made for those visits. He added that he also wanted to visit Peru, but said he and organizers "don't know where to put it" in his schedule.
Announcement of all the trips led Jesuit Fr. Federico Lombardi, who was moderating the press conference, to interject with "everything is provisional" before joking: "We already have quite a precise and ample program of the travels of the next years."
Francis was visiting the Philippines Thursday-Sunday as the second trip in a two-part Asian voyage that saw him first visit Sri Lanka.
Speaking of his time in the Philippines, Francis said Monday that he was profoundly moved by an outdoor Mass he celebrated in Tacloban, an area of the country that was severely devastated by 2013's Typhoon Haiyan.
Francis celebrated the Mass amidst a tropical storm in the area, which was pouring rain on a crowd of some 300,000 and buffeting the area with 60 mile-an-hour winds.
To see the people there despite in those conditions, said the pontiff, "I felt as though I was annihilated. I almost couldn’t speak."
Francis also said he was struck by how many in the crowds -- which grew to an estimated record-breaking 6 million for an outdoor Mass with the pope in Manila on Sunday -- were holding up children above their heads to receive a papal blessing.
It was a gesture, said the pope, that "this is my treasure, this is my future, this is my love, for this one it’s worth working, for this one it’s worth suffering."
"It’s the way they did this that struck me," he said. "The gesture of motherhood, of fatherhood, of enthusiasm, of joy."